The food industry is very complex and I was astonished at the amount of ethical issues I found, ranging from government-issued agriculture subsidies to the treatment of animals. There were a number of different players in the food industry that are to blame for the health and environmental concerns that the food industry has created, but I decided to target food retailers in general.
A consumer goes to a food retailer to purchase most of their food and thus food retailers have the most interaction with consumers. Food retailers are the ones putting the products into the hands of consumers, the ones using bright advertisements of juicy burgers and thick milkshakes to attract customers. In addition to selling products, food retailers also buy the products that they put in their stores (some also have their own brand of products that they sell), giving them dual power to influence both the consumer and producer. This dual power is why I wanted to target food retailers. Food retailers can choose what products they sell to their consumers. However, all too often they provide customers with what they want and not what the customer needs: nutritional food.
Whole Foods is a food retailer that sells only organic and natural food. In my opinion, it is a food retailer with a conscience, a food retailer that provides customers with what they need. Although I would like to argue that all food retailers should sell only organic and natural food, if food retailers followed Whole Foods’ conscious capitalism model the majority of them would most likely begin to sell only organic and natural food. In order to bring integrity to the food industry, food retailers should adapt Whole Foods’ model of conscious capitalism.